Broadband News

January 2019 update on broadband coverage levels across the UK, nations and regions

Looking back at 2018 it was the year when the bulk of the broadband roll-outs switched from VDSL2 to FTTP at Openreach and with the accelerated roll-outs from other full fibre providers FTTP started to grow rapidly across the UK.

The question in 2019 is whether the pace of the FTTP roll-outs will actually meet the expectations set by many press releases, we have seen Gigaclear hit some serious bumps so people are going to be watching with a keen eye.

The Government has the ambition of hitting somewhere between 97% and 98% superfast coverage by the end of 2020 and our estimates range from March 2020 to hit a 97% superfast coverage level all the way to October 2021 to hit a 98% target. This is a very wide range but with the slow pace of the superfast roll-outs the target dates are that far apart. Two things might accelerate things and ensure the target is hit and that is the new Superfast Cymru contracts and the Scottish R100 project assuming they start delivering decent volumes in 2020. The scale of the slow down is very apparent when you consider that in January 2018 when the race to 95% was underway almost 0.3% of coverage was added, but at the end of 2018 you were lucky to see a 0.1% change per month.

Once the FTTP roll-outs are in the region of 10 to 15% UK coverage we should be able to look at estimating the date for hitting 50% FTTP coverage across the UK with some confidence, at present a 50% FTTP by 2025 target would be missed by over 20 years.

thinkbroadband analysis of Superfast, USC, USO and Full Fibre Broadband Coverage across the UK, its nations and regions for premises
In descending order of superfast coverage - figures 6th January 2019
(change since 7th December 2018)
Area% full and partial fibre based
i.e. VDSL2, G.fast or
FTTP or
Cable
% superfast
24 Mbps or faster
% superfast
30 Mbps or faster
% Ultrafast
100 Mbps or faster
FTTP, cable, G.fast
%
Full Fibre All Providers
 
Openreach FTTP
% Under 2 Mbps download% Below USO
10 Mbps download
1 Mbps upload
ADSL2+ does not count as USO compliant
North East 98.4% 97.5% (+0.1) 97.3% 54.5% (+0.3) 1.24% (+0.04)
0.41% (+0.02)
0.2% 1.9%
956,045 Premises 941,176 931,933 930,103 520,653 12,245
3,909
2,009 18,374
East Midlands 99% 97.4% (+0.1) 97.1% 61.7% (+0.6) 3.17% (+0.06)
0.86% (0.07)
0.3% 1.7%
1,140,446 Premises 1,128,826 1,110,756 1,106,985 703,556

36,187
9,787

3,864 19,428
South East 98.9% 97.3% (+0.1) 96.9% 56.4% (+0.7) 4.60% (+0.31)
1.84% (+0.04)
0.3% 1.7%
2,234,117 Premises 2,210,155 2,172,996 2,165,239 1,259,854 102,843
 41,012
5,940 37,610
London 97.9% 97.1% (=) 97% 73.9% (+0.2) 9.00% (+0.2)
2.94% (+0.05)
0.1% 2.4%
4,598,612 Premises 4,502,208 4,466,976 4,459,783 3,396,309 413,845
135,200
4,601 108,350
West Midlands 98.5% 96.9% (=) 96.7% 66.7% (+0.2) 2.68% (+0.04)
0.96% (+0.04)
0.3% 2.2%
2,871,241 Premises 2,826,980 2,783,767 2,777,725 1,914,712 76,923
 27,463
8,257 63,154
North West 98.6% 96.6% (-0.1) 96.3% 52% (+0.1) 3.13% (+0.04)
1.62% (+0.01)
0.5% 2.4%
4,021,304 Premises 3,963,692 3,886,126 3,874,046 2,092,553 125,678
64,970
21,910 96,780
England 98.2% 96.3% (=) 96.0% 58.9% (+0.2) 5.62% (+0.12)
2.81% (+0.04)
0.4% 2.7%
24,799,558 Premises 24,341,504 23,882,759 23,806,393 14,611,112 1,393,221
697,123
100,713 658,676
Great Britain 98.0% 96% (=) 95.7% 56.6% (+0.3) 5.38% (+0.09)
2.73% (+0.04)
0.5% 2.9%
28,911,946 Premises 28,344,467 27,754,868 27,662,344 16,360,329 1,555,711
789,752
144,809 844,916
United Kingdom 98.1% 95.8% (=) 95.5% 56.1% (+0.3) 5.47% (+0.13)
2.80% (+0.06)
0.6% 3%
29,715,406 Premises 29,140,793 28,465,922 28,366,502 16,676,390 1,625,398
832,314
180,210 904,343
Yorkshire and Humber 97.4% 95.6% (+0.2) 95.3% 58.3% (+0.2) 10.36% (+0.12)
7.67% (+0.13)(includes KCom Lightstream)
0.5% 3.5%
2,648,558 Premises 2,579,082 2,532,048 2,524,675 1,544,927 274,519
 203,012
12,973 91,620
East of England 98.1% 95.4% (+0.1) 94.9% 53.3% (+0.3) 2.92% (+0.17)
1.33% (+0.02)
0.5% 3%
2,695,521 Premises 2,643,463 2,570,363 2,557,618 1,435,972 78,671
 35,962
14,796 82,010
Wales 97.7% 95% (+0.1) 94.6% 36% (+0.1) 6.12% (+0.05)
4.95% (+0.04)
0.8% 3.6%
1,424,627 Premises 1,391,800 1,352,962 1,347,233 513,057 87,240
 70,566
10,918 51,905
Scotland 97.2% 93.7% (=) 93.3% 46% (+0.1) 2.8% (+0.15)
0.82% (+0.03)
1.2% 5.0%
2,687,761 Premises 2,611,163 2,519,147 2,508,718 1,236,160 75,250
22,063
33,178 134,335
South West 97.6% 94.3% (+0.1) 93.8% 48% (+0.3) 7.49% (+0.02)
4.84% (+0.04)
0.7% 3.9%
3,633,714 Premises 3,545,922 3,427,794 3,410,219 1,742,576 272,310
175,808
26,363 141,350
Northern Ireland 99.1% 88.5% (+0.1) 87.6% 39.3% (+0.3) 8.67% (+0.59)
 5.30% (+0.63)
4.4% 7.6%
803,460 Premises 796,326 711,054 704,158 316,061 69,687
 42,562
35,401 61,450

One milestone reached this month is that the City of Kingston Upon Hull has reached the 90% superfast coverage level and with the KCOM Lightstream roll-out set to continue the 95% is within easy reach during 2019 unless the pace of the roll-out slackens.

The Openreach roll-out of G.fast and FTTP ultrafast broadband is continuing and sits at a combined total of 1,985,430 premises and 654,357 of these are via full fibre. The full fibre roll-out has several strands, the Fibre First activities which are most visible in Bristol and Northern Ireland where VDSL2 areas with superfast speeds are seeing FTTP deployed commercially, the majority of new build premises get FTTP from the outset now and the continuing BDUK roll-outs where we see some jump from ADSL or ADSL2+ to native FTTP availability and an increasing number of VDSL2 areas where those with sub superfast speeds get the additional option of native FTTP.

The infill and overlay areas where Openreach is making native FTTP available can be confusing for the public as almost all the comparison sites including those accredited by Ofcom do not seem to highlight that faster FTTP options are available and worse in areas that have gone from ADSL/ADSL2+ straight to FTTP sites invariably offer providers to people who do not actually sell the Openreach FTTP service.Our package search will filter based on the technology actually available and while some of the provider names may never have advertised on TV for native FTTP areas we do show more than BT Consumer as the sole option.

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